Collecting data for global surgical indicators: a collaborative approach in the Pacific Region

BMJ Glob Health. 2017 Nov 25;2(4):e000376. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000376. eCollection 2017.


In 2015, the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (LCoGS) recommended six surgical metrics to enable countries to measure their surgical and anaesthesia care delivery. These indicators have subsequently been accepted by the World Bank for inclusion in the World Development Indicators. With support from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Pacific Islands Surgical Association, 14 South Pacific countries collaborated to collect the first four of six LCoGS indicators. Thirteen countries collected all four indicators over a 6-month period from October 2015 to April 2016. Australia and New Zealand exceeded the recommended LCoGS target for all four indicators. Only 5 of 13 countries (38%) achieved 2-hour access for at least 80% of their population, with a range of 20% (Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands) to over 65% (Fiji and Samoa). Five of 13 (38%) countries met the target surgical volume of 5000 procedures per 100 000 population, with six performing less than 1600. Four of 14 (29%) countries had at least 20 surgical, anaesthesia and obstetric providers in their workforce per 100 000 population, with a range of 0.9 (Timor Leste) to 18.5 (Tuvalu). Perioperative mortality rate was reported by 13 of 14 countries, and ranged from 0.11% to 1.0%. We believe it is feasible to collect global surgery indicators across the South Pacific, a diverse geographical region encompassing high-income and low-income countries. Such metrics will allow direct comparison between similar nations, but more importantly provide baseline data that providers and politicians can use in advocacy national health planning.

Keywords: disease and standardisation of rates; indices of healthd; public health; surgery.

Publication types

  • Review